Fetal “Facts”

Fetal "Facts"

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The House recently voted to ban abortions after 20 weeks, under the pretense that fetuses can feel pain by then. Texas Representative Michael Burgess said a dumb thing in defense of this dumb ban:

Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful … They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?

Burgess is an OB-GYN by profession, which makes his comments even more troubling. But I doubt he believes it. It’s just a pretense for the Republicans’ plan to chip away at access to reproductive rights. Whether they’re stripping funding for Planned Parenthood, or passing terrible laws at the state level, the GOP is determined to make abortion impossible, if not outright illegal.

To the Republicans, every potential life is precious, until it’s born. After that, they’re more than happy to let it starve to death.

Bors and I Chit-Chat of the Week

We talked about the NSA some more, the scourge of masturbating fetuses and the media picking on Miss Utah for not winning the Nobel Prize in economics.

Speaking of Utah, we’ll be in Salt Lake City next week for the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) convention next week. If we can get our hotel wifi situation figured out, we’ll try to do a Hangout from the road. They use Mountain Time out there, so who knows when we’ll be doing it. Probably “Bear O’Clock.”

If you’re reading this from SLC, a bunch of the convention is open to the public. So come by if you’re not offended by my very un-Mormon tendency to swear all the fucking time.

One Nation, Under Surveillance

One Nation, Under Surveillance

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I generally try to avoid doing consecutive comics about the same topic, but last week, a few polls taken after Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing show that Americans support the snooping, especially when it’s falsely framed against terrorism.

The same country that accepts thousands of gun and traffic deaths, for the sake of personal freedom, cowers in a corner, pisses their pants, and hands over their privacy whenever the authorities whisper “terrorism” into their precious little ears.

Fifty years or so from now, when books are written about us, we’ll be labeled “The Scaredest Generation,” if books are still around in 2063.

Secret Agent Smartphone

Secret Agent Smartphone

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Last week, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden confirmed that the NSA is running a gigantic domestic surveillance program. So much has been written and said about it that I don’t have much to add except that I agree with what Matt Bors said.

Besides the actual spying, the people defending it are the most noxious. From Dianne Feinstein, who presumably knows a lot about the program(s) as Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to the general public, who are still pissing their pants nearly 12 years after 9/11, this country’s still in the throes of an epic freakout over terrorists.

If terrorists killed 30,000+ Americans a year, I MIGHT be inclined to think this program was anywhere near justifiable, but that’s guns. Guns kill 30,000+ Americans a year, and we can’t even collect data on who’s buying them. Our security priorities: They’re fucked up and bullshit.

Indicators of the Real Economy

Indicators of the Real Economy

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The big economic news last week was a rise in housing prices, and that women are now the main breadwinners in 40 percent of families. Combined with the other indicators commonly used by the government and the media, the anemic recovery looks like it’s finally gaining some steam. But anyone with eyeballs can see unemployment has been insanely high for five years while those lucky enough to be employed have seen their wages stagnate or go down.

This “recovery” is fueled almost entirely by record corporate profits. I’m not sure what’s so great about rising housing prices anyway, since that’s what caused the last bust. And I couldn’t afford a house when prices were at all-time lows. As a lifelong renter, I’m essentially a non-entity as far as economists are concerned.

I personally won’t feel like the economy’s healthy until I can buy a boat. Right now the Brian Boat Index is at a pathetic 0 Boats. Thanks, Obama.